I’ve been working on getting Jack and Alex to do more writing lately. Victoria and Rhiannon always loved writing and it was one way they quite naturally improved their handwriting, spelling and composition skills over the years. Since the boys aren’t as keen to do it on their own, I’ve been finding fun ways to get them writing.
As long-time readers know, I’ve never been a fan of forced activities. I want my kids to love to write (and read and learn in general), not to put up with it because they have to. After all, I want them to be lifelong readers, writers and learners, and this only happens if they learn to love reading, writing and learning. This has always worked for us, in part because we come up with ways to show them the joy of these things.
Daily lists are a fun and easy way to get this going with writing.
I gave Jack a notebook and asked him to make a list of any 20 things each day. The list could be of things he wants for his birthday, jobs he might like to do when he grows up, birds he can ID, characters who annoy him on TV, things he likes about Minnesota… Anything. I help brainstorm list ideas if he comes up blank, but he chooses what he wants to list. Alex will be starting his own notebook this week, too.
They don’t have to list 20 things in one list if there aren’t that many things that apply. They can do a couple of shorter lists, such as who their best friends are and who they’d like to get to know better, or states they’ve visited and states they’d like to visit.
I shared this idea with a friend and she used it quite successfully with her son yesterday. He has Downs Syndrome and tends to balk at writing. She asked him to write a list of 10 things he likes on pizza (which he loves). After he wrote his list, she sat and helped him correct the spelling and they talked about sounding out words and spelling rules.
One of the great things about this is that it works with any age and it can become a journal of sorts. Keep all the lists in one notebook and have kids date them, and they can look back to see what their favorite books or songs were, what they considered their best qualities, and so on. It also just helps get you into a creative mindset, and get thinking about those bigger topics like possible careers and things you’d like to get better at.
As always, it helps to have fun notebooks and pens to use, too. Everything is more fun when you have cool materials to use. 😉
I’m thinking of making up a big list of lists now, and printing it up as books for the boys. This is working really well for now, though, and I’m excited to get Alex started.
I kind of want to start my own list journal too!